My wife and I take part in a weekly, local pub quiz and have done for the past two years. The number of people taking part varies between 30 and 60 people with a maximum of six participants per team. Our team comprises three English School Teachers (one currently a Head Teacher), one History School Teacher, a Manager in the Civil Service and an ex-Engineering Executive now posing as an English/History student (that’s me). Most weeks there are 4 or 5 of us taking part in our team. It is a tough quiz and it is not unusual for new teams to disappear at the half way stage of a quiz evening, never to appear again. The quiz categories are broad ranging from literature and current affairs to pop music and popular culture. We are strong on literature, art, history and current affairs but weak on sport and any pop music in the intro round over the past 20 years. But to win the quiz a broad-based knowledge is required from the team as a whole. When there are six of us, not too many sports questions and the music intros are pre-1985 then we have a reasonable chance of winning. This has not been the case for several weeks but last week we did manage to win with just 5 of us there and we won by a reasonable margin too. I am certainly not the star of our team but I have my moments of inspiration, particularly when my Parkinson’s disease (PD) hasn’t been too brutal during that day. The quiz evenings almost always distract me from my Parkinson’s symptoms, whatever the quantity or quality of my symptoms, but my contribution to the quiz is definitely dependant on the intensity of my illness on the day, irrespective of my apparent level of distraction.
One of my sons also takes part in a weekly, local pub quiz but at a different pub. There are just two of them in the team but they are regular winners having recently had a run of seven wins in nine weeks despite around 90 people taking part. Thankfully, they do not like our pub quiz having sampled it once and despite coming second on that one visit they have not returned. I would not mind them returning as long as they were part of our team! When my son and I have our weekly lunch together, the first thing we ask each other is whether our teams won our respective pub quizzes the previous week. We then go on to discuss some of the questions in each of our quizzes, at the same time testing each other. We used to play a lot of golf together but PD put a stop to that so the quiz conversations are important. The quiz evenings are socially engaging, as well as intellectually challenging, but I do so miss our golf.
I used to go fishing regularly with my other son and we fished together socially and in organised competitions, both individually and team based, before my PD. I did, however, return to fishing for about three years but PD called time on that social outlet too, a couple of years ago. I also wrote angling articles for a couple of local newspapers and built and administered a web site for a local angling club, so I was heavily involved in the local angling community. My son still fishes competitively and does very well; winning matches on a regular basis. So he keeps me abreast of the local angling scene and I sometimes watch him taking part in matches although it is hard being there and being unable to join in. Recently a close local angling friend of his won the premier national UK angling event, winning £30,000 in the process. This has given us much to talk about and not only has it made me pine for my lost angling days, but it also made me regret my demise as a local angling correspondent. What a wonderful angling story to write about. I should perhaps point out that my ‘boys’ are 29 and 37 years old.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in February 2004 at the age of 51 having experienced undiagnosed symptoms for at least 4 years prior to that. My wife and I have five adult children and three grandchildren. We are fortunate in that we live in a lovely rural part of the east of England, with King’s Forest situated nearby for my much needed, therapeutic dog walks. I spent most of my working life involved in electronic, mechanical manufacturing management within the Worldwide Broadcasting industry and I am extremely lucky to have travelled extensively through my work. Since I was diagnosed I have dedicated much of my time to researching all aspects of PD and trying to both support others with this illness and raise the profile of PD. As well as writing a blog on this website, I administer an internet patient forum for people with PD which I set up in September 2008 and it currently has over 150 members. I also administer the forum’s Facebook, Friends Reunited and Twitter pages. My younger son recently ran in a half marathon race to raise funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. I am currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English and History as a mature student.